Kurt Vonnegut Jr. on Good Writing

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. on Good Writing

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Price's Write - Is it Who or Whom?

The Price's Write features tips I have run across or discovered myself through my years of writing and teaching writing. They are offered as suggestions to help you become a better writer. Our explanations will be brief, but I think if you follow these tips you can improve your writing. And more importantly, your audience will notice that improvement.
Be skeptical of people who get upset when you use who instead of whom, Chances are they are either:
  1. a time-traveler from the Victorian era
  2. a pretentious snob
  3. a charter member of the Grammar Police
As with all writing rules, the use or whom depends on 3 things:
  1. your audience
  2. what you are trying to say
  3. your style
So as they say, keep your writing real. Break the rules when you need to, but make sure you know:
  1. the rule you're breaking
  2. the reason why you're breaking it

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Price's Write - Pooh Poohing Pronoun-Subject Agreement

The Price's Write features tips I have run across or discovered myself through my years of writing and teaching writing. They are offered as suggestions to help you become a better writer. Our explanations will be brief, but I think if you follow these tips you can improve your writing. And more importantly, your audience will notice that improvement
As James Brown sang in the early 60's, it might once have been a man's world, but that's certainly not true anymore.

With women rightfully continuing to exert their influence, their voices are showing up everywhere, even in the case of pronoun-subject agreement.

It used to be that when a gender-ambiguous pronoun was called for, we always used the masculine form, as, for example, in the phrase "everybody should take his seat."

However, chances are that the people taking their seats also include some women. But for decades grammar purists refused to budge.

Some writers tried using this concept - everyone must taker one's seat, but that sounded much too pedantic.

Next came the awkward his or her seat, but that sounded too painful.

Today, you are beginning to see "everybody should take their seat."

And while that construction technically violates the call for a singular pronoun to be used for textbook -correct pronoun-subject agreement and could cause violent reaction from grammar Nazis, it actually sounds clearer and better.

I think one day this will be the acceptable format, so you might as well get started using it now.
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Monday, December 19, 2016

The Price's Write - Using One-Sentence Paragraphs

The Price's Write features tips I have run across or discovered myself through my years of writing and teaching writing. They are offered as suggestions to help you become a better writer. Our explanations will be brief, but I think if you follow these tips you can improve your writing. And more importantly, your audience will notice that improvement.
Your English teachers probably told you never to write a paragraph consisting of just one sentence. Well, they were meant well. And they had learned that way. But they were wrong. Especially if you are writing for the internet.

When writing for the internet, you want to make your content easy for readers to take in. One sentence paragraphs provide that opportunity. So the majority of your writing should be in that form. However, you do need to vary your style. So every so often, where warranted, use a longer sentence or 2 or 3 short sentences in one paragraph.